I bought two Pamlico 140s six years ago as first boats for my son and myself. Looking back on my experience with this and with others I have paddled, I can highly recommend this boat for beginners, large paddlers (I am 6'5", 215#). We've had them in everything from swamps to rivers to large bays to open ocean, and while not the best at the latter they do OK if you don't ask too much of them. Before we took them out in the open water we practiced self and buddy rescues and found them extremely easy to reenter, even in less-than-calm water.
Goods: Large cockpit, plenty of weight capacity - camping gear, etc. Very stable and forgiving, strong initial stability. Pretty fast for its width, tracks well - it has rudder fittings but I have never considered installing one. Best foot peg adjustment I've seen yet, easy to adjust when in the boat and provides a good firm rest.
Bads: Hard to edge for turns; hull is so wide you have to splay knees out to brace against hull if you want to paddle with more than your arms. The hatch cover is not easy to seal. No bulkheads means everything must be in dry bags. Large cockpit means a lot of water from spray, paddle drips - easy to pick up a few gallons of water on a choppy day, and a skirt has to be so large it won't hold if you get any significant amount dumped on you from waves, etc.
Biggest complaint is that both boats developed cracks in hull where seat bottom is "welded" to the hull. Since it is a stress point, it requires periodic repairs (plastic welding). I severed the seat bottom from the hull using a hacksaw blade; this seems to have stopped the problem without (so far) creating other stress points.
The Pamlico 140 was discontinued several years ago but for someone starting out or wanting a boat with the characteristics above, you can find them for next to nothing and you really can't go wrong. I plan to get a true touring kayak soon for longer trips, but I will keep the Pamlico for workouts and getting others started in this great sport.I'm a proud owner of a red one. It's very roomy and it's extremely easy to enter and exit the Pamlico 140. It's really stable so you can relax and enjoy it. The Pamlico 140 is also fast, and it glides across water. It can also haul a lot. No matter how much gear I had, my Pamlico 140 could stow it very easily. I feel it's very stylish, and it's so great! I love the Pamlico 140!
The boat had wonderful tracking, and can also turn with ease. It is amazing how the boat can have such stability, while having good performance, tracking, and maneuverability all in one. I am an intermediate paddler, and I must say this is the perfect kayak for me. All skill levels, from beginner to Expert, it suits all levels of skill. This is a great touring Kayak. Took my new Pamlico 140 out twice this past weekend on two local lakes. Conditions were very calm and the water in both instances was a sheet of glass. As advertised, the boat is very stable and I had no concerns about tipping even when attempting leaning turns. Since this is my first kayak it is difficult for me to say how fast or well the boat turned. It did seem to take a few strokes to get it going in the direction I intended. Using the rudder made turns a snap. Eventually, my stroke will improve (looking for a good kayak class) so I don't doubt my stroke could be part of the issue. The phase 3 seat is fantastic and the bulkhead, stern hatch are nice features.
Taking the kayak off of my Subaru wagon (using J style yak rack from Thule) is a bit of a chore by myself. The kayak is supposed to weigh 56 pounds but I think it is more than that when you throw in the rudder. Carrying the kayak from the car to the put in is a task I care to not have to do to often. I'll be getting a yak cart to save my back. Overall, pleased with the kayak and will be using it often for casual paddling alone or with my son sitting in front of me and perhaps a bit of fishing. At $400, the price could not be beat!Plus: big, roomy, stable. I can put my feet up.
Minus: I drip water on my knees. If I get a skirt, then it may as well be another model. The others we go with have more light touring kayaks. I feel as if I have a big yak and am far off the water.
For some it could be a 10, but for me only a 6.We wanted to start kayaking as a family, since the kids are bigger now (12 and 14) . . . we realized it's time to start enjoying life again! Tried out a few kayaks, but wanted something stable . . . I don't want to tip over unless I choose to. Also, I want to carry my camera with me and camping cargo for overnight trips . . . and keep them dry!
The first time I got in a Pamlico 140, I knew it was the boat for me. I felt like I'd never tip over in it. I could actually move around in it comfortably. And the cockpit is large enough that I can take a cooler AND my dog! I was so excited about the demo that my husband tried it and decided it was just right for him, too. So that was two sold. Our son was with us and he liked the Old Town Castine. We were pretty sure our daughter would need to stay dry at all times too, as she'd probably insist on having her discman and CDs with her during our kayak trips . . . so we brought her back to try the Pamlico and she loved it, too. So we bought 3 Pamlico 140s and one Castine!
We bought late in the summer, so we only had occasion to go on a few trips, but each time out was like heaven . . . a mini vacation. Being out on the water in my kayak is the best stress reliever I've found yet. I'm more comfortable in my kayak than I ever thought I'd be. We ordered rudders on all four kayaks . . . putting the rudder down is like having a steering wheel! It's great! The length of the boat is great for long-distance touring. Looking forward to the spring . . . it should be the best ever!